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A boxing legend: Muhammad Waseem awaits the deserve praise
World Boxing Council (WBC) flyweight champion Mohammad Waseem of Pakistan will defend his title when he faces Giemel Magramo of the Philippines at Hilton Hotel in Seoul on November 27. The 28-year-old Waseem, who defeated Jether Oliva of the Philippines in the WBC world silver flyweight title bout in Seoul on July 17, will need tough work-out as his 21-year-old rival is considered a dangerous boxer. Magramo, who is a reigning WBC international champion, has 13 knock-out wins in his 17 bouts. He has not lost any fight in his career. On December 12, 2015, Magramo won the vacant WBC International Flyweight Championship by beating Jeny Boy Boca, also of the Philippines. Once regarded as a major boxing power in the region, Pakistan’s stocks have tumbled in the ring in recent years with its boxers even failing to qualify for major events like the Olympic Games. With PBF officials busy in their power tussle, even talented boxers like Waseem were left on their own. While Waseem was fortunate enough to find a South Korean promoter who helped him turn pro, other national boxers haven’t been that lucky. Much more than luck, it was Waseem’s hunger and hard work which catapulted him towards international glory. While Waseem was received with open arms by boxing circles in countries like the US, Japan and South Korea, Pakistan hasn’t really warmed up to him. Waseem received a lukewarm response when he returned home from Seoul after winning the WBC title last summer. Though there were announcements of cash rewards from various quarters for the victorious boxer, only one of such pledges actually materialised. Waseem hails from a humble background and needs a lot of support. He trains abroad as there aren’t sufficient facilities in Pakistan, and so the biggest backing Waseem needs has to come in the shape of finances. Our cricketers, when they do well, are showered with big cash prizes. Why can’t we reward a victorious boxer in the same manner? It is important that the state also supports our non-cricketing sports stars like Waseem. If not, our stocks in the world of sports will continue to sink.